Northamptonshire's popular Salcey Forest treetop walkway stands forgotten nearly three years after closure

The Forestry Commission said in 2020: "We still find ourselves without the budget needed to carry out the repair and rebuild work"

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:20 pm
Salcey Forest's Treetop Walkway has been closed off to the public for nearly three years.

Another year has passed without any work beginning to restore Northamptonshire's popular Treetop Walkway in Salcey Forest.

In 2018, more than 32,000 people signed a petition to save the walkway after safety inspectors spotted rotten timbers along the structure and closed it off in May 2018 due to 'major safety concerns'.

Fans of the walk celebrated in October that year when the Forestry Commission announced it would undertake work to replace the damaged timbers and save the walkway - only to announce in 2019 they were struggling to find the money to start.

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The walkway was one of Northamptonshire's most popular nature attractions but has stood forgotten for nearly three years.

Now, it has been nearly three years since a resident last stepped foot on the walkway.

An update in 2020 by the Forestry Commission claimed the Covid-19 crisis had further delayed repairs because of an impact on funding.

When approached by this newspaper this week, it said the situation hadn't changed.

"We still find ourselves without the budget needed to carry out the repair and rebuild work," the statement in 2020 read.

"The project remains a priority for us all so we are continuing with the design and planning work in the background ready for when we are able to start the works.

"It is treasured by visitors and staff alike, and we recognize that it has become an important feature of the local area. However, as a wooden structure it always had a finite lifespan."

The Tree Top Way is a quarter-mile route that rises to 20 metres above the forest floor, and at its height offers a view above the trees. It opened in 2005 and cost £750,000 to build.

Despite the touted importance of exercise and walking during the pandemic, there was no choice but to keep it shut throughout 2020 and has gone largely forgotten.

It opened in 2005 and the project was placed first in the Environmental category of the British Construction Industry Awards 2006.